Friday, April 25, 2008

"Top Chef: Chicago" Episode 4

It's been a while since I've posted a "Top Chef: Chicago" recap, but here we go.

The guest judge on this episode was Daniel Boulud, the chef/owner of DB Bistro and Cafe Boulud.

Quickfire: Create a veggie plate demonstrating at least three culinary techniques.

Zoi: Shaved asparagus salad with poached egg, batons of green beans and chiffonade of radicchio and frisee

Dale: Daikon marinated in toranian, tournee of avocado and cucumber

Lisa: Poached egg, blanched asparagus, batonettes of bell pepper and grilled zucchini

Richard: Blanched mushrooms, pickled beets, sliced radishes with lime juice and scallions

Spike: Carpaccio of cucumber, tagliatello of asparagus, cucumber cup and tournee of mushroom

Manuel: Blanched asparagus, brunois of yellow pepper, supremes of lemon and endive fennel frond. This dish was out of the running as the guest judge said endive fennel frond wasn't a valid culinary technique; it was just a composition.

Nikki: Blanched green beans and asparagus quenelle, shaved fennel and radish salad

The best were Zoe Antonitsas, Dale Talde and Richard Blais. Winner: Talde, automatically qualifying him for the next round.

Elimination Challenge: Create a six-course movie-themed dinner. The dinner would be served at a party thrown by film critic Richard Roeper. Excluding the immunity winner, the other 12 were paired up into six teams of two. After all the teams had been chosen, Talde got to choose the team he wanted to cook with. Each team cooked one of the courses, and each course was based on a different movie.

Course 1: Dale Talde, Andrew D'Ambrosi and Richard Blais
Course 2: Spike Mendelsohn and Manuel Trevino
Course 3: Jen Biesty and Nikki Cascone
Course 4: Antonia Lofaso and Zoi Antonitsas
Course 5: Ryan Scott and Mark Simmons
Course 6: Lisa Fernandes and Stephanie Izard

Everyone had a $150 shopping budget.

Course 1 ("Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory") :
A: Smoked salmon with faux caviar and white chocolate wasabi sauce
B: Pear and celery soda

Course 2 ("Good Morning, Vietnam"):
Summer roll with vermicelli, green apple, Chilean sea bass and Swiss chard

Course 3 ("Il Postino"):
Tortellini with cavolo nero, ricotta, pecorino, squash and peppercorn

Course 4 ("A Christmas Story"):
Quail breast with carrot puree, cranberry chutney and quail spring rolls

Course 5 ("Talk to Her"):
Rack of lamb with saffron cauliflower puree, romesco and gramalata

Final course ("Top Secret!"):
New York Strip Steak, braised short rib and apple potsticker with caramel sauce

Teams #2, #3 and #5 were in danger of being in the bottom two.

The top two teams were Teams #1 and #6. Blais won himself another challenge on the season as the solo winner of this challenge.

The teams in danger were #2 and #5. In the end...

...somebody was eliminated on Team #2. And that person was...

...Manuel Trevino. Spike got lucky again. Might we have an El Cheapo around here?
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